When is a van not a van?

HMRC are being urged to provide clarity and consistency on the tax treatment of commercial vehicles such as VW Kombi Vans marketed as goods vehicles.

Capital Allowances definition of “Motor car”
The definition of a “motor car” for plant and machinery allowances purposes is a mechanically propelled vehicle except a vehicle:
1. constructed in such a way that it is primarily suited for transporting goods of any sort, or
2. of a type which is not commonly used as a private vehicle and is not suitable for use as a private vehicle.

VAT definition of “Motor car”
For VAT purposes the definition of a motor car has been amended several times over the years. The current definition states: “Motor car” means any motor vehicle of a kind normally used on public roads which has three or more wheels and either:

a) is constructed or adapted solely or mainly for the carriage of passengers; or
b) has to the rear of the driver’s seat roofed accommodation which is fitted with side windows or which is constructed or adapted for the fitting of side windows;

There are a number of exceptions to this rule notably vehicles constructed to carry a payload of one tonne or more. A common example would be a ‘double cab’ pick-up such as a Mitsubishi L200 or Toyota Hilux.